Pressekonferenz zur Veröffentlichung des Bioökonomie Aktionsplan. Copyright by BMK/Cajetan Perwein.

The Bioeconomy Action Plan - Time for Implementation!

The concept of the bioeconomy encompasses on the one hand the sources of raw materials (agriculture, forestry, water management and waste) and on the other hand the use of these bio-based raw materials (food and feed, materials, energy). The aim is to create an economic cycle that reconciles technology and ecology.

Austria is committed to the international climate goals and to an active climate protection and energy policy. The central goal of the federal government's climate policy is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Austria will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 36% by 2030 compared to 2005. This requires a coordinated, concerted climate and energy policy that ensures a balance between ecological sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply also in the future. For this reason, the German government had decided as one of its first important measures to draw up an integrated climate and energy strategy in order to take responsibility for a consistent decarbonisation path until 2050.

Figure BMK. Left part represents part of the bioeconomy as part of the circular economy. Basically, these are different topics, but they have similarities in the areas of biomass and consumer behaviour (sufficiency).

What we need to achieve the goals of the bioeconomy

Increasing efficiency at all levels of the value chain, from raw material production to logistics and material use to energy recovery, as well as rethinking consumer behaviour (sufficiency) towards extending the lifespan of products.
Tapping all renewable raw material sources by using residues, by-products, waste (consistency) and the production of new raw materials such as algae.
Highlighting opportunities for replacing fossil raw materials with renewable, bio-based ones.

Implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy - ACTION PLAN

In the bioeconomy strategy, options for action were developed and then supplemented with concrete measures in an action plan. In the process, Austria's areas of strength in research and the economy were built upon and new areas were opened up. The catalogue of measures, including the respective status quo of implementation, will be completely recorded in the Bioeconomy Action Plan 2022. All political instruments such as legal regulations, standards, subsidies, public procurement and awareness raising are to be used for implementation. An Austria-wide series of workshops on the Bioeconomy Action Plan began in mid-2019. In this series, the strategic objectives were discussed with all affected stakeholder groups and the fields of action were specified. A total of 20 events were held with more than 400 experts from companies, research institutions, associations, social partners, NGOs and public authorities. Wood construction and wood-based value creation were addressed in particular in the workshops in Styria (led by the Holzcluster STMK), but also in Tyrol and Vorarlberg (led by the Energy Institute Vorarlberg). Topics such as sustainable raw material extraction were also discussed.

Here we would like to thank all participants in the workshops who contributed, gave us feedback and thus made a significant contribution to the development of the action plan. Many thanks!

In the course of the events, a total of about 800 inputs were collected, which could be summarised in various aggregation processes into more than 100 measures. In addition, each measure was subjected to an evaluation and prioritisation by the 3 departments involved in the process. The aim was to round off the contents of the measures from a technical point of view and to identify measures with a high weighting for the objectives of the Austrian bioeconomy strategy.

The current Bioeconomy Action Plan is divided into 11 thematic areas. These thematic areas are subdivided into further fields of action, which ultimately contain the concrete measures. A total of 114 measures were defined through the intensive development process. The respective ministries, BMK (66), BML (36), BMBWF (6), are in charge of the measures, and 6 measures are managed in cooperation between BMK and BML.

HERE you can find the ACTION PLAN!

Examples of thematic areas and fields of action

Bioeconomy Austria. Awareness raising is a very extensive topic area. Here, the establishment of a bioeconomy cluster, for example, is supported via the field of action "Establishment of bio-based industry platforms". Bioeconomy Austria is a lighthouse project of the national bioeconomy strategy, a measure from the Bioeconomy Action Plan and is funded by the Austrian Forest Fund. It represents the gateway to the Austrian bioeconomy and is a growing network of regional clusters and platforms, companies, research, politics and society with already more than 150 partners. On 31.10.2022, the new website and cooperation platform will be published in German and English.

Bio-based textile fibres. Or from the thematic areas of economy & research and circular economy, several measures on the topic of "bio-based textile fibres". Here, the entanglements and overlaps with the circular economy and the important area of textiles become apparent. By promoting research projects and the development of bio-based fibres, the microplastic problem can be attacked in a targeted manner, and high added value can be achieved in the region with domestic raw materials such as wood.

Digital regional residue exchange. In the area of circular economy, for example, the "creation of a digital market for high-quality biogenic secondary raw materials". Biogenic waste, residues and by-products are important sources of raw materials for a sustainable, cycle-oriented bioeconomy. In particular, as yet unused residues and by-products of renewable origin expand the resource base of the bioeconomy and enable climate- and environmentally-friendly use. In order to bring products based on secondary raw materials onto the market at all, it is therefore necessary to have an appropriate classification or certification that is transparent and comprehensible for all market participants.

Ongoing activities
Climate and energy model regions: Focus region bioeconomy/circular economy. The Vulkanland model region was successful in the 2020 call for proposals. The kick-off event already took place on 10 March 2022. The focus of the bioeconomy and circular economy model region is on the areas of resources (production and refinement of valuable resources), energy (intelligently networked renewable energy production) and food (strengthened self-sufficiency). In addition, there are two cross-cutting measures, namely "Soil we live on" and the "Sustainable Lifestyle" initiative.

Bioeconomy Centre at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna. Research, development and innovation (RTI) are important pillars of a successful bioeconomy and necessary drivers of the transformation. Therefore, the BMK sets corresponding thematic priorities in research funding, both in the bioeconomy and in the circular economy. We also work closely with the BMBWF to include university research. One successful result of this cooperation is the establishment of the Bioeconomy Centre at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna, which initiates projects in the field of the bioeconomy both within the university and with external partners.